My Home At Bella Vista

05 Mar

In the 1980s I was privileged to have lived on John Barrymore’s estate, Bella Vista. When Flynn came to Hollywood he searched out Barrymore. When I came to Hollywood I searched out Flynn–or his footsteps, to be precise–and, in a strange, circular coincidence ended up in Barrymore’s home. Here is a photo collection of the house from my days there (and one more recently). It was a magical time….

1) The Bella Vista sign, now long gone, having been cut down. But by whom?

2) The road up to Bella Vista

3) The former aviary, seen from the road

4) Around the bend to my house, passing Ryan O’Neal’s place, also part of the original Barrymore estate

5) My house, high up on the property

6) A closer view, with the bedroom balcony at the top and the veranda below it

7) The stairs to the house–a long climb! (recent photo with the large Eucalyptus cut down)

8) The first flight up

9) The view from the veranda over Beverly Hills. Many a wonderful afternoon and evening were spent on that veranda, which was especially lovely at night with all the twinkling lights below. I was living there on the occasion of Barrymore’s centennial and raised a drink to him that evening on that veranda–sadly, he didn’t deign to grace me with a spiritual visitation! This view is now obscured by large Eucalyptus trees

10) The view across the road from me to the comedian Shelley Berman’s home, formerly the home of Edgar Bergen (Candice grew up there)

11) The door with Barrymore’s initials and serpent coat of arms

12) The coat of arms

13) Outside my bedroom, a view also obscured today by the overgrown foliage

14) The courtyard behind my house

15) The courtyard, a beautiful place to wander and dream of days long gone

16) Part of the main house seen above the courtyard

17) A path up to the main house

18) I loved it there, long ago when those days were closer to the days of Barrymore himself.


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— Robert


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  1. zacal

    March 6, 2014 at 12:11 am

    Well, well. I downloaded the pics of the door, many thanks. (Serpent King?) Barrymore fascinates me because he was the closest thing to an idol that Flynn had. (other than his father) Can you give a sense of what it was like to live there? Was it peaceful? Quiet?

    • Robert

      March 6, 2014 at 12:22 am

      Very peaceful and very quiet, Zacal. And interesting: Ann Turkel lived next door.

      • timerider

        March 6, 2014 at 3:45 pm

        Those old Hollywood hills homes had character! I really don’t appreciate the “now” homes of the stars. Multimillion dollar mansions of the modern styles don’t appeal to me. I can smell the 80′s in those hills as I view these photos! Thanks Robert.

  2. David DeWitt

    March 6, 2014 at 4:14 am

    Robert! Such WONDERFUL photos! Thanks for sharing them! I again thank you for the day of adventuring together in LA and showing me around the Hollywood Hills and doing a bit of Then & Now viewing together. I got to stand at the base of the stairs with you leading up to your former digs in Barrymore’s house, and saw a fleeting look in your eyes of nostalgia for that time. And who could blame you? Many thanks for that day, and for sharig so many stories with me as we went around looking back …

    • Tim

      March 6, 2014 at 6:44 am

      Very cool, Robert!

      No John Barrymore, No More. (Or, at least, he’s been keeping a very low Profile since the last time Errol saw him.

      Why’d you ever leave?


      • timerider

        March 6, 2014 at 3:43 pm

        Now that’s the era in the photo I would like to have been in!

  3. Inga

    March 6, 2014 at 6:44 am

    Just wonderful! Thanks for sharing! Does the house still exist and who is living there now?

    • Robert

      March 6, 2014 at 6:45 am

      It’s still there, Inga, as is the rest of the estate. I don’t know who lives there currently.

  4. Tim

    March 6, 2014 at 7:08 am

    Here’s a link to a “tour” of Bella Vista by The Profile himself:…

    And then there’s this:…

    And, taken inside Bella Vista, here’s the beautiful Dolores Costello, Jack’s wife and Drew’s silent movie star grandmother:


    • timerider

      March 6, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      Some of her looks are seen in Drewie! I’ve had a “thing” for Drewie ever since ET and that little smerky smile is hard to get out of my head,LOL! I’m glad she survived her younger days!

  5. Tim

    March 7, 2014 at 3:18 am

    Excellent observation, timerider! … Dolores was gorgeous -a real dish. Drew definitely inherited some her good looks. More wild & crazy than her.grandmother perhaps, at least back in her wild & crazy days. I wish she was a touch more that way now. She’s far too serious on The Essentials, for example, losing the unique essence of what so wonderfully distinguished her from typical Hollywood stars and wannabes. Maybe “Drewie” should down a Drambouie or two-ie before going on with Robbie Osbourne!

    BTW, in addition to good looks and the Barrymore name, some believe Drew may have inherited some of the lisp that sunk her career, after the transition of silents to speakies.



    • Tim

      April 6, 2014 at 7:11 am

      I have to update my assessent of Drew in The Essentials. I’m very to see and say that her new appearance with Robert Osborne on TCM is much, much more fun and enjoyable than her last. She looks to be back to her former, fun & wonderful self! So great to see!! She appears to be very happy about her soon to be delivered baby.